My BIG little man
My son has been three for almost two months now, and for a while it did not seem like much had changed since he was two. We had a big birthday party for him and celebrated his day, but other than that life has continued as normal. There did not seem to be any defining moment to make him seem like he was aging. I’m sure his changes were more apparent to the people who didn’t see him every day. I know his vocabulary grew, as much as he did, but I just do not seem to notice these small changes since I am with him all day every day. However that was until today. Today my little man gained a big piece of independence, which really marked him as a three-year old in my mind, and no longer a toddler.
I live on a dead-end street with lots of children. You can usually mark spring by the sound of children coming out of hibernation to ride their bikes on our street. The neighbors all look out for each other’s children, but up until today I have always been one of the parents outside supervising the kids. Usually I supervise all the kids because I am out there anyway with the daycare kids, but today was different.
Since my daughter was sleeping I took the opportunity to sweep all the gravel at our front door that fell out of my son’s shoe after our trip to the park. I opened the door to throw the dirt onto the grass and my son saw the neighbor kids outside playing. He then started asking me really nicely if he could go outside. How could I say no when I have been trying for 3 years to get him to say please, and he was hitting me with the “please, please, please” in a nice voice. The problem was that the baby was sleeping, and I had a bunch of tasks inside that I needed to complete while she was asleep. But I saw one of the neighborhood mom’s outside who was asking if my son could come out to play. She looked like she was going to be out for a while, so I asked her if she wouldn’t mind watching my son. the neighbor said she had no problem watching him, and I just asked her to send my son in when they went inside.
So I got my son ready to go, and his excitement was obvious. I almost had to hold him down just to get his shoes on; he was just so overwhelmed with joy that he got to play outside with the big boys (without Mommy too). However, that is when the pit settled into my stomach. All the crazy ways he could hurt himself started to pop into my head, and all I could think was maybe I should just grab the monitor and go out there. However, I ignored my urge to control EVERY THING. I reminded myself that my neighbor is a good mother, and she has experience with an active, injury prone son who has made it to the age of eight, so she must know what she is doing. So I just let it happen.
I took the opportunity to put my multitasking genus at work, and got lots of things done, while someone else supervised my kid. Despite the intense feelings of anxiety, it was pretty cool to defer responsibility for half an hour. It was a big step for both of us, but I have to say it was well worth it. Even though my son came in soaking wet because he managed to find the only puddle on the street, it was pretty great to see the extra strut in his step. It was quite clear that his little piece of independence made him feel pretty cool, and I was okay with it because someone responsible was still supervising him.
I also learned today that it is possible for me to keep my uncontrollable worrying to myself in order for my son to gain a little independence. Which is probably good since that is my job as a parent.